Jeannice M. Reding
Originally published in the July/August 2006 issue.
Author: Lynne Torgerson
On Jan. 19, 2006, Gov. Pawlenty appointed the Hon. Jeannice M. Reding to the Fourth Judicial District. I had the pleasure of interviewing Judge Reding on the first day she actually sat on the bench when she presided over misdemeanor court at Southdale, and I learned a great deal about her.
Judge Reding was born in 1962 in Park Falls, Wis., and she grew up in Green Bay, Wis. She graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1980. Thereafter, Judge Reding attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1984, she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, and she earned her juris doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1990.
After law school, Judge Reding joined Best & Flanagan, LLP, in Minneapolis where, as a member of the Civil Litigation Department, her practice involved family law. Judge Reding fondly remembers her days at Best & Flanagan where she enjoyed the camaraderie and support of colleagues. Even though she left the firm nine years ago, she still has good friends there.
In 1997, Judge Reding became an administrative law judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings. In this position, she traveled throughout the state presiding over child support hearings. In 1999, it was decided that her duties should fall within the judicial branch of government, and she became a child support magistrate for the Fourth Judicial District. The job remained essentially the same, but she received a new title.
Beginning in 2002, Judge Reding’s duties included filling in as a referee in the family court division. In 2004, she became a full-time family court referee in the Fourth Judicial District largely taking over Referee Milton Dunham’s caseload upon his retirement. As a family court referee she presided over divorce proceedings, custody proceedings, paternity cases, post-decree motions, contempt hearings, and domestic-abuse-related cases, including order for protection hearings. The governor observed that “[a]s a Hennepin County District Court referee, Jeannice has proven that she can handle the caseload efficiently while giving each individual case personal attention.…She has demonstrated her potential to be an outstanding district court judge through her performance as a referee.”
Judge Reding was one of the founding members of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, along with the Hon. Robert A. Blaeser, also of the Fourth Judicial District. In fact, Judge Blaeser, who at the time he was appointed in 1995 was the only American Indian judge in the state of Minnesota, was an encouragement to Judge Reding as she was making her decision to seek a judgeship. The association, which was incorporated in 1992, includes American Indian attorneys and non-Indian attorneys. Keeping in mind that Indian nations are sovereign nations, the association’s members meet regularly to address Indian law issues—issues facing native communities and attorneys. Judge Reding also is an enrolled member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation.
Family is important to Judge Reding. She resides in Plymouth with her husband, Troy, and their three children, Eli, 15, Elizabeth, 11, and Sam, 9. Her husband is a general manager for a large, popular restaurant chain. Judge Reding is also very close to her sister, whom she considers her best friend.
Many of her extracurricular duties involve taking her children to activities and volunteering at her children’s schools. She is an active member of her church where she is the nursery coordinator and a Sunday school teacher. She has also been actively involved in hosting homeless families at her church. Judge Reding has been a board member of Family and Children’s Services in Minneapolis and a guardian ad litem for children of tribal members in the tribal court of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Her hobbies include gardening, swimming, and rug hooking, and she loves to read. She also loves to travel. One of her favorite places is the Philippines. This summer, she and her husband are looking forward to taking their children, who are good travelers, to Europe for a vacation.
Judge Reding continued with much of her prior duties as a family court referee through March of 2006 because a replacement could not be immediately found. Thereafter, she attended judicial orientation. Because of her background in family law, Judge Reding actually taught other newly appointed judges the family law portion of orientation. Other orientation training included sitting in with other judges as they presided.
Judge Reding thoroughly enjoys family law. She sees lots of interesting cases in the family law area. The cases are intriguing because they often involve power and violence. She feels that some of the cases would make great Shakespearean plays. Judge Reding has noticed that family law cases tend to last considerably longer than criminal cases, where appearances can take only five minutes. Not having been exposed to the area of criminal law in the past, Judge Reding expects there to be a big learning curve. Her goal is to treat everyone respectfully and equally. She also hopes to be seen as fair and even-tempered.
A description of Judge Reding may include the following: well-balanced, middle-of-the-road, wife, mom, soccer-mom, lawyer, and judge.
Welcome, Judge Reding.
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